Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Technology Investor. Harry Newton
AM EST, Tuesday, April 28, 2009. We're entering the Summer doldrums.
The saying is "Sell in May and Go Away." Not that I wanted
you there (or here), anyway.
How I spent
my weekend. It was 75, blue skies, perfect weather. Outside beckoned. But
here we were inside. The neighbors are in for Sunday brunch. We impose on
them to help us rearrange the living room furniture -- my wife's latest idea.
The couches are heavy.
says one of our guests, "I rearrange furniture in hotel rooms."
The good news:
We now have more space in our living room than we have friends.
sells. We drove seven hours yesterday to hear my son and his partner
make a five minute pitch to the Harvard Business School Business Plan Contest
2009. They did fabulously. Of the 124 teams that started back in January,
they made it to the top four. They made runner up and won $20,000. Said Michael,
"I can use the money." Which is good because Daddy's checkbook is
All teams used
PowerPoints. I hate PowerPoints. You can't sell anybody anything with a flat
boring slide, especially one as cluttered as this one:
To sell, you
need to excite. You need to make eye contact. You can't when the people are
squinting at a confusing slide.
The winner ran
slides that had few words. They ran the slides fast. They talked fast and
They got us
excited. I promised to be their first customer.
was awful. It had a terrible echo. Lights were non-existent. The speakers
were in the dark. The school allowed no practice. And the clicker that moved
the Powerpoints kept sticking. We should have been warned. The place was called
the Burden Auditorium.
You have to
move closer to the audience, do things with your voice and your body.
It's you, not
your Powerpoints, that sell. My preference is no Powerpoints.
Here's the happy
family (red eyes and all) celebrating Michael's victory yesterday.
From left: Anne,
Claire, Susan, Michael, Harry and Ted.
help us from Larry Summers. Larry Summers was president of Harvard
for five plus years. During that time had made some of the dumbest financial
decisions any college president has ever made. He squandered hundreds of millions
of dollars of Harvard's endowment on dumb investments. I was reminded of his
financial ineptitude by the five $2 1/2 million cranes that sit idle over
a gigantic hole in Alston, MA, just behind the business school.
Mr. Summer is
now Director of Obama's Economic Policy Council. God help us.
magazine is closed. On Monday Conde Nast closed Portfolio magazine
after two years.
The first issue
The current (and last) issue
of the closure put Conde Nast's investment at $100 million or $200 million
and a drop in advertising of 26% or 61% in the first quarter -- depending
on which story you read. Reasons for the shutdown included "an unhealthy
fixation with Wall Street and the hedge fund boom over other industries."
saw itself in the same vein as the Fortune magazine of the 1930s, filled with
lush photographs and long narratives. But that formula doesnt work in
an age where business is about speed, not leisure or luxury. It also doesnt
work ... in the age of instantaneous business news on the Web."
I liked Portfolio.
They paid first rate authors like Michael Lewis big bucks to produce great
stories. I've instanced many on this web site. Portfolio's problem was not
editorial. It was advertising. There simply isn't enough of it. When a recession
hits, it's the first thing that gets cut. The second is people. Then real
about this recession is that companies are making cuts much faster.
That means we'll be profitable faster, though at a much lower level. That's
one reason I don't believe stocks are a bargain, yet.
A Recession Sing-A-Long! If you didn't watch this yesterday, do so today.
Turn up your speakers. Click on the picture, or here.
This market stinks so bad that ...
+ There was
a guy on the street with a sign that read, "Will manage your money for
+ My broker
recommends only two positions, Cash and Fetal.
+ I am advising
my mother-in-law to put more money in.
+ My dartboard
got taken away in a margin call.
+ I wish I would
have tried harder in my freshman chemistry class.
+ It's not even
This column is about my personal search for the perfect
investment. I don't give investment advice. For that you have to be registered
with regulatory authorities, which I am not. I am a reporter and an investor.
I make my daily column -- Monday through Friday -- freely available for three
reasons: Writing is good for sorting things out in my brain. Second, the column
is research for a book I'm writing called "In Search of the Perfect
Investment." Third, I encourage my readers to send me their ideas,
concerns and experiences. That way we can all learn together. My email address
is . You can't
click on my email address. You have to re-type it . This protects me from
software scanning the Internet for email addresses to spam. I have no role
in choosing the Google ads on this site. Thus I cannot endorse, though some
look interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. Please
note I'm not suggesting you do. That money, if there is any, may help pay
Michael's business school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense,
here and here.